Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Home (Mission Impossible - 5)

The blue planet rose in the viewscreens as they all gathered around to watch 'Earthrise.' It was a purely artificial construct, but it was still amazing to watch. They had been in space for almost six months and Dranke and his crew were looking forward to some downtime at home. Spacecommand was floating in a distant Earth orbit, but for once, they would not be docking there. Instead, the ship docked at the maintenance yard which was in a near Earth orbit. The crew filed out as they exited one airlock and entered another. The maintenance docks were huge and they stared at the scale of operations as they trooped towards their waiting capsule.

Dranke and his team had been involved in some notable firsts over their last mission. Having tracked and chased an alien fleet clear across the galactic disk, they had continued on their original mission, only to find that the fleet had doubled back after giving their trackers the slip and ambushed them. What the aliens had wanted was not very clear, but it seemed that they were on a mining expedition originally. After they found that Dranke's darkmatter starcraft was tracking them, they had in turn given chase to the ship and confronted Dranke and his crew. It had been quite a shock.

Vaxe and Fenie talked animatedly as they discussed the encounter with the alien and Dranke walked silently to the capsule, shadowed closely by Piteer, who was talking away. Dranke heard none of it, he was too caught up in his own thoughts. The 'capsule' was a sheathed vehicle, thickly layered and powered by lasers. They stepped inside. It moved off almost immediately. A bank of 200 high-powered lasers were aimed at the bottom of the capsule, which was protected from below by a reflective surface. The capsule moved downwards and soon they were on the ground. A Sargent led Dranke, Vaxe, Fenie and Piteer to where General Selin was waiting for them. The rest of the 20-odd crew were allowed to carry on to their debriefing officers.

General Selin was dressed in his battle fatigues, which was a surprise. Dranke shook hands with the General and introduced Vaxe and Piteer. Fenie had already met the General in cadet school and she saluted smartly. The general returned the salute perfunctorily "I read the report. You needed to get more detail on the aliens. Were they a threat. What did they seem to be like. I need everything."

Dranke supressed a smile "We couldn't read the alien. It transformed from a orb-like shape to a quasi-human shape, which was obviously supposed to put us as ease. They are extremely advanced, far beyond what we can imagine." He went on to tell the details of the meeting, the kind of docking which was done with an extrusion of the ship's walls and the liquid-like alien fleet which seemed to be almost ethereal. "They seemed to know we are just beginning to explore, and they did not give anything away. In my opinion, they don't seem to be aggressive. Just curious." The General nodded absentmindedly "You have a week off officially, but we need to know about these Hnnet. Was the alien you met in contact with someone while talking to you?" Fenie said "Ed. He asked us to call him Ed. Though his alien name was something else. But to answer your question, Vaxe was unable to figure out if they had any communications. Our own systems were jammed completely." The debriefing with the General seemed to last forever. He asked for details every few minutes. Finally their story was accepted. The General's aide had recorded everything and he walked away with his data, which was sure to be replayed time and again.

General Selin was not amused. He dismissed them with a parting shot "It seems like the aliens want to talk to you and your crew. So for better or worse, your crew has been chosen to gather intelligence for us."

Dranke decided to give them the day off, and they all left excitedly to enjoy it. It had been some time since they had been able to relax completely, and all too soon, they would be back marking time as they traversed this galaxy and the maybe all the neighboring ones too. It would make for interesting times!

Before very long, they were called back to the Earthbase to rapidly leave for their next mission. Fenie was the only one grumbling as she hadn't quite been able to attend a concert which she been looking forward to. Vaxe shrugged, "we knew it was going to be short notice. The boffins are jumpy."

It was a familiar feeling to be back on their darkmatter starcraft. The bridge had been cleaned and the full ship had been serviced. They settled down and prepared for the long voyage. Fenie said "lets name the ship." Dranke grinned "Let's have a vote." They jumped. And jumped again. And again... leaving the Sol system in the distance.

Pic Courtesy:By NASA (Great Images in NASA Description) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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